The Dog and Her Boy
This blog, despite ostensibly being another on Matthew, is
dedicated to Brandi, our eight year old Yellow Labrador who has had to make an
adjustment now that she is no longer the house darling. Brandi turned eight earlier this month, and
that now puts her into older dog age. Matthew
has altered the family dynamics, and poor Brandi is no longer our star.
To be sure, Brandi has ruled the digs as a princess. When were anticipating bringing Matthew home,
we were a little worried. At the time
Brandi was seven years old, a mature dog set in her ways, and used to being
idolized. Was she going to be
jealous? Would she try to exert
dominance over the baby? She had
established herself in the pack and now a new member was joining, and dogs do orient
themselves to hierarchy. When we came
home from Kazakhstan the first time, we brought something with Matthew’s smell
on it for her to get accustomed. When we
got home with Matthew, we brought him straight to her and had her sniff him and
gave her treats as she acclimated to him.
In addition, Brandi is not a small dog. She’s ninety pounds and a typical Lab, which
means rambunctious and energetic. She’s
never been a gentle dog. I would say
she’s downright clumsy. I don’t know how
many times she’s accidently smacked me in the face with her snout from her
exuberance. And when she’s in a rush of
frenzy, she can knock me down. So I
feared what she might inadvertently do to a child one third her weight.
I’m not sure if any of those precautions made a difference,
but Brandi has been tolerant of the new house member. For the most part she ignores Matthew. A few times she’s barked at him when he’s
mindlessly walked unto to her as she lies on the floor. After a few barks and growls, Matthew learned
pretty quickly to tippy-toe around her.
The other time she’s growled at him is when he’s tried to touch her
feet. Brandi is sensitive about her
feet. Again it’s worked because I have not
seen Matthew try that in a long time.
They say you could learn a lot on parenting by the way a bitch handles
her pups. I guess I need to learn how to
bark and growl.
Now Matthew has taken to Brandi pretty well. He certainly was fascinated by a live
animal. He loves his stuffed
animals. A live one actually reacts
back. I initially thought he might be
afraid of a live animal. Not in the
least. He’s tried to touch her from the
very beginning. We taught him to pet
her, and he’s pretty much touched her everywhere, even her mouth, though I had
to make sure he didn’t poke her in the eye.
Brandi, sitting like a queen usually on our sofa, takes it as more
adulation. Matthew took to Brandi so
well that his first kiss that came from his own volition was not to mommy or
daddy, but to Brandi.
Now the one time when Brandi doesn’t ignore Matthew is when
our son is getting fed. When Matthew is
in his chair at the table, Brandi is right on the floor beside him. We’ve always given Brandi a morsel or two off
our plates, but suddenly she was getting Matthew’s unfinished scraps. In a short time, a couple of months I think,
Brandi had put on over five pounds. Now
Matthew even sneaks her food, either by dropping it to the floor or holding it
over the side so she can gulp it. She’s
good. She’s never touched his hands.
Finally, I think their relationship has really
progressed. My wife told me the other
day Brandi was up in Matthew’s room and grabbed one of his stuffed
animals. Matthew started howling and
waving his hands over his head, “No, no, no,” and began chasing Brandi across
the upstairs. “Giop-it (drop it), giop-it,
giop-it” he kept screaming. And Brandi
kept playing along. Too bad she didn’t
have a camera handy.
Below are a few pictures of Matthew and Brandi in
chronological order. You can also see
how much Matthew has grown in fourteen months.
Brandi eyeing Matthew’s breakfast.
Well, well, another four legged creature has joined our
Unafraid to touch her tail; unconcerned to being touched.
A dog and her boy.
Matthew trying to give Brandi a kiss.
A recent picture.